Leigh Centurions’ head coach Ian Millward has thrown down the gauntlet to his players ahead of Sundays Co-operative Championship clash with York City Knights.
“Even if we win our three remaining games and Featherstone Rovers slip up, then we would be behind them on points difference,” stated Millward.
“We now have to go for bust and try and close that gap while not losing sight of the fact that we must win our three games first and foremost.
“Featherstone are 56 points better on attack and defence than we are, and we need to get that down. Sunday against York will be tough but we have to be ruthless and take very chance that comes our way. We need to cut that gap and throw down the challenge to Featherstone.”
Leigh took a giant stride towards securing second spot in the Championship with last week’s thrilling 24-18 success at Widnes Vikings in front of almost 5,000 fans. The Centurions now need to beat York and they cannot be caught by a Widnes side that heads to Halifax tonight (Thursday).
In essence Leigh have already secured that second spot, but it would be great if all that following support and a good number more, headed down the bypass to swell the home crowd for the Centurions game this Sunday.
“We want the fans to come along and roar us on to victory like they did last weekend and in the Northern Rail Cup Final,” added Millward, “And it is not just about the encouragement. Don’t forget it is all about the bread and butter of the club too. We have no white knight in shining armour anymore and everybody who gets in the stadium pays his way to helping keep the club afloat.
“The players are doing their bit and playing some fantastic rugby that the fans seem to love. But we need more fans to come and watch us and see what we are capable of doing.”
York City Knights will certainly not roll over and lie down and they gave Featherstone a bit of a testing time last weekend before going down 44-16. But now Leigh need to go better than that.
“Fortunately we have no injuries,” confirmed Millward.
“We played exceptionally well against a Widnes pack that fronted up to us and gave us one of the stiffest tests we have had this season.
“But we weathered their storm and to keep them scoreless in the second half was something special. To beat a side that had won eight in arrow is a terrific achievement and that followed on the back of nilling Hunslet and a fine win over Sheffield.
“But we can’t rest on our laurels. We need Featherstone to slip up and on top of that we need to close that scoring average gap.
“I will be looking to give Sam Hopkins a run out. He has been playing superbly in the reserves, and Adam Higson was 18th man last weekend and deserves a run out too.
“But those players who won the Northern Rail Cup keep putting their hand up each week and nobody wants to lose their place.”
He said the key was to keep the pressure on Featherstone, adding : “Hopefully we can snatch top spot from them.”